The Omnivore's One Hundred

Yes, yes, I know this came out months ago.  But I didn't have a blog then!  So here's what I would have published, if I'd had a forum for it.

(For those of you who are unfamiliar with this exercise, it's about widening your tastes and embracing your destiny as an omnivore.  You copy this list, bold all the items you’ve eaten and cross out any items that you would never consider eating.)

This entry is dedicated to my parents, who forced me to try many things I was sure I would hate.  Some of them, I did hate; I remember in particular an episode with shark soup when I was around 9.  I was crying and pouting that none of my FRIENDS had to eat anything as weird and gross as shark soup.  But honestly, I liked most of the things I tried, and now I scoff at the narrow range of a lot of my FRIENDS' tastebuds.  (I once went out with a guy who, honest to God, didn't like rice.  Rice!  Yeah, that didn't last long, for obvious reasons.)

Parents, stick with it.  Don't give in to the mac-and-cheese-or-PBJ-at-every-meal club.  It won't kill your kids to miss dinner once in awhile if they refuse what you've prepared.  I turned out okay, right?


The Omnivore's One Hundred (full list below)

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (I hope alligator counts.  Thanks, Ellicott Mills!)
6. Black pudding (Interestingly, the only foods I crossed out consisted were "meat" that isn't muscle tissue.  I've never been very adventurous in that department.)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush (Arabic dip / sauce made with eggplant)
11. Calamari
12. Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (Indian curry made with potato and cauliflower)
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (I had to look this up.  It’s a really, really pungent French cheese.)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (Even grew them myself. Yep, I’m bragging.)
22. Fresh wild berries (Ditto, at my parents’ house growing up.)
23. Foie gras (I tried a very little bit, but liver has always made me gag.  I’ve tried to overcome this to no avail.)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (You seriously don’t want to know what this is.)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (accidentally, while preparing a marinade.  OUCH.)
27. Dulce de leche (Spanish caramel sauce)
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda (warm Italian vegetable dip)
31. Wasabi peas (My dad's favorite snack)
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (If ayran counts; it’s the Armenian version.)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I’ve had these separately, but not together.)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (Every year at Mike’s!)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (used it to make broth.  Does this count?)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (My dad and his friend once gave me what they said were chocolate covered ants.  I wasn’t sure whether they were lying, and I’m still not sure, but I’m going to go with truthfulness for now.)
43. Phaal (very hot Indian curry)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu (a Japanese fish that is severely poisonous if not cut correctly.  Now that I’m married, I think I’ll pass.)
47. Chicken tikka masala (Indian curry dish)
48. Eel (my favorite kind of sushi!)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear (good in margaritas!)
52. Umeboshi (pickled Japanese fruit, like a plum)
53. Abalone
54. Paneer (Indian cheese)
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (Somehow I have successfully avoided Big Macs for 28 years, and I plan to continue doing so unless my life depends on eating one.)
56. Spaetzle (German dumplings)
57. Dirty gin martini (still one of my favorite drinks!)
58. Beer above 8% ABV (wait, they make beer that’s under 8%?!)
59. Poutine (Food of the gods, found only in Canada.  French fries, cheese curds and gravy.  Also known as “heart attack in a paper cone.”
60. Carob chips (Ugh.)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads (I don’t think I could try these unless tricked.)
63. Kaolin (clay mineral present in Kaopectate and toothpaste.)
64. Currywurst (German hot sausage with curry barbeque-type sauce)
65. Durian (my dad ate one of these once, and my mom made him wash his face and brush his teeth multiple times before she would allow him back into their bedroom.)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake  (Actually, I’ve had all of these, and I have to say the beignets from Café du Monde are by far the best.)
68. Haggis (sorry, Grandpa McNichols)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (the latter, though I didn’t know what was in it at the time)
71. Gazpacho (made three kinds for Rob’s 30th birthday – red, green and orange.  The orange was the best.  It was made with mango.)
72. Caviar and blini (also not together.)
73. Louche absinthe (French anise-flavored liqueur, cloudy because of the presence of ice)
74. Gjetost, or brunost (Norweigan whey cheese, which is the texture and color of wet clay, but has a lovely caramel flavor.  You should really try this.)
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu (Chinese grain alcohol)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong (Tea.  Really good tea.)
80. Bellini (Italian drink made with peach nectar and champagne)
81. Tom yum (Spicy Thai soup – wonderful!)
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (Fun Japanese junk food that is now, sadly, available just about anywhere)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (Is there a difference between hare and rabbit?)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (All the time!  Rose petal jelly, chive and nasturtium blossoms, sugared violets – my Mom taught me how to do this.)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate (this is supposedly the best type of cacao bean available, though there are those who disagree.  I found that most of Guittard’s chocolate is made from Criollo, so I’m counting it; there’s almost no way to really know.)
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa (North African hot sauce)
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor (a mixure of lobster meat, cheese, mustard, brandy and egg yolks, which is baked inside a lobster shell.  Competing with poutine for the Instant Heart Attack Trophy.)
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake